Live-cell target engagement of allosteric MEKi on MEK–RAF/KSR–14-3-3 complexes

William M. Marsiglia, Arthur Chow, Zaigham M. Khan, Liu He, Arvin C. Dar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The RAS–mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway includes KSR, RAF, MEK and the phospho-regulatory sensor 14-3-3. Specific assemblies among these components drive various diseases and likely dictate efficacy for numerous targeted therapies, including allosteric MEK inhibitors (MEKi). However, directly measuring drug interactions on physiological RAS–MAPK complexes in live cells has been inherently challenging to query and therefore remains poorly understood. Here we present a series of NanoBRET-based assays to quantify direct target engagement of MEKi on MEK1 and higher-order MEK1-bound complexes with ARAF, BRAF, CRAF, KSR1 and KSR2 in the presence and absence of 14-3-3 in living cells. We find distinct MEKi preferences among these complexes that can be compiled to generate inhibitor binding profiles. Further, these assays can report on the influence of the pathogenic BRAF-V600E mutant on MEKi binding. Taken together, these approaches can be used as a platform to screen for compounds intended to target specific complexes in the RAS–MAPK cascade. (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024


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